Destiny 2 (PlayStation 4) Review

By Brandon Howard 10.09.2017 1

Review for Destiny 2 on PlayStation 4

Destiny was a first-person shooter with just a hint of an MMO that, after all was said and done, was pretty darn good. It may not have lived up to the ocean of hype that surrounded it prior to its release, but it managed to build a dedicated following after its excellent expansions and DLC, Rise of Iron and The Taken King. Destiny 2 is more of the same, but it trims a lot of the fat that held its predecessor back. After an early hands-on with the beta version of Bungie and Activision's latest, Cubed3 delivers the final verdict on one of the most hotly tipped games of the year.

The original Destiny really didn't start until after the player reached level 20, and it was a long road getting there. Destiny 2 may reserve some of its harder content behind that same gate, but, boy, does it hit the ground running. From the get go, the campaign is far more interesting and straightforward when compared with the original, and it does a fantastic job of maintaining that pace throughout its duration.

The campaign is very approachable for newer players, as it doesn't directly follow any of the original storylines from Destiny or any of its expansions. While there are some recurring themes and characters that older players will recognise, the storyline can function independently for someone who missed out on the original.

Starting with the destruction of the last major city on Earth by an alien race called the Cabal, the events of Destiny 2 follow the player character in their quest to regroup Earth's defenders, the Guardians, and take back the Earth from its invaders. The storyline feels a lot less jumbled this time around, and the characters both help to build the world, and fill in some storyline gaps when needed. The campaign is relatively short, but it serves as a good introduction to the game, and a solid path to the level cap of 20 in the 10-15 hours it will take to complete.

It can easily take longer, though, with all the side missions that fit into each of the game's four planets. Completing these side missions will yield experience to raise your Guardian's level, granting ability points to spend on your subclass skills, and loot drops that can raise their power ranking. The power ranking system is a retooled version of the "Light" rating system from Destiny, which basically indicates how ready the player character is to tackle certain challenges.

Screenshot for Destiny 2 on PlayStation 4

The power system is the true indication of your guardian's ability, and it's based on the individual ratings of each piece of gear currently equipped. A level 20 character with a power ranking of 100, for example, would be much weaker than a level 20 character with a power ranking of 200. This is where the real grind of Destiny 2 sets in. Grinding for higher power gear through missions, in-game events, raids or the PVP arena, is pretty much the endgame for every Guardian.

Guardians can be divided into three major classes; Titan, Hunter, and Warlock. Each class uses the same weapons, but each also has their own unique skills, grenades, and melee attacks that help in combat. Each class can be further divided into three unique subclasses each, further diversifying the roles each character can play. Each character can switch between any of the subclasses unique to their class as they are unlocked, but once a main class is picked, that's what they are stuck as, so choose wisely.

The Titan class is the archetypical space marine class, focused on tanking damage. It easily has the highest survivability of any of the classes, making it a great choice for first timers. Their unique class ability allows them to put up a stationary defensive barrier, which provides some extremely useful on-demand cover for both the Titan using it, and their teammates. Their melee attacks are also defensively minded, either stunning enemies, or protecting their allies as just some of the possible effects.

Hunters, regardless of subclass, are all about speed, stealth, and dealing damage from a short distance. Their default class ability allows them to reload while dodging, allowing them to keep themselves in a fight for a long time. They also have quite a few ways of causing various status effects, disorienting and disrupting enemies. Hunters thrive in high-risk, high-reward strategies, making them challenging, but rewarding, to play optimally.

Screenshot for Destiny 2 on PlayStation 4

Warlocks are focused on long ranged strategies, and have some powerful area-of-effect options to take out larger groups of enemies. Like Titans, Warlocks fare pretty well on their own, but their class ability can really help out a strike team in fights, either healing or empowering those around them. Their melee attacks deal high damage at a slight range, and some of their subclasses really accentuate a melee-oriented playstyle.

Classes all have unique super abilities, as well, which recharge over time. They are all unique to the various subclasses, but they can all turn the tide of the battle on their own. The Titan's first subclass gives them a powerful, Void-elemental shield to toss at enemies, while the Warlock's Voidwalker subclass allows them to throw out a massive bomb, annihilating enemies caught in it.

Each of the classes' three unique subclasses can further define them in specific roles, so it's worth experimenting to find a path that fits your playstyle. Subclass builds are a lot more streamlined in Destiny 2 with fewer, but more dynamic, skills available. This time around, each subclass has two separate "paths" that provide even more specialisation, but lock you out of the other side. While one side might provide amazing mobility, the other might offer some of the strongest offensive abilities, so, again, choose wisely.

Characters all pull from the same weapon pool and each can equip three different weapons at any given time. Kinetic and Energy Weapons are mostly the same types, pulling from hand cannons, assault rifles, submachines guns - the basics. Energy weapons do come with one of the three primary elements (Solar, Arc, and Void) attached, which can be used to deal massive damage to enemies with shields weak to that type.

Screenshot for Destiny 2 on PlayStation 4

Power weapons are a whole other ballgame. They deal higher damage that comes in the form of unique weapons, from sniper rifles, to grenade launchers, to good, old fashioned swords. Ammo for these weapons is few and far between, but it's easily found from some of the more powerful enemies encountered, making it worthwhile to go out of the way to track some down.

In addition to the standard weapons and gear, there's also powerful "Legendary" and "Exotic" rarity gear that can be found throughout the game's rewards and loot boxes. Exotic gear, in particular, can further define a playstyle, offering unique and powerful buffs to the character they are equipped to, but with the restriction of being able to only equip one Exotic weapon, and one piece of Exotic gear. Exotic items can drastically alter the way characters deal attacks and move, so they make for one of the more defining build choices in the series.

As Guardians advance through Destiny 2, they will find tons of ways to earn new gear to raise their power ranking. Strikes and Nightfall raids offer some of the more powerful gear, but each character can only complete them once per week. There's no shortage of other ways to obtain gear; whether it's through public missions that come up in each of the four planets, or from the PVP arena, Destiny 2 has even more ways to keep its players busy than its predecessor.

It's surprising how addictive Destiny 2 feels. The story is engaging to the point where it's hard not to complete the next mission, just to see how things play out. Even going from objective to objective, it's easy to get swept up in public missions, teaming up with other players on the fly to take out Cabal ships, or clear out swarms of enemies hidden in a ruined building. There's never a lack of things to do, and travelling around, feeling like an intrepid space explorer, has never felt better.

Screenshot for Destiny 2 on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

Destiny 2 is a noticeable improvement on its predecessor in almost every regard, but at its core, it's still just an improved Destiny. The campaign drops a lot of the convoluted plot threads that made the original's story so hard to follow, so at least it does feel like a worthy use of time before digging in to the end-game grind. Even with the improved campaign, and the greater variety of challenges to undertake in mind, the MMO-esque, endgame focused grind definitely isn't for everyone. Still, the side missions and story mode are definitely worth playing through, and with a few other Guardians along for the ride, Destiny 2 and its inevitable expansions will keep players coming back for quite some time.

Developer

Bungie

Publisher

Activision

Genre

First Person Shooter

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

So hyped for this but have to wait until next month for the PC release. Loved what I played on the beta.

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